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Turkey in suspense over Balotelli to Besiktas rumours

Well-travelled Italy striker Mario Balotelli is listening to offers from Beskitas after being released from hometown club Brescia, Turkish newspapers reported on Wednesday.

The temperamental 30-year-old striker had a difficult return to the Serie A outfit last term and is surveying his options abroad.

Brescia were relegated from Serie A after the former Liverpool and Inter star scored just five goals and was the victim of racist abuse during games on several occasions.

Local sports papers claim Besiktas, the 15-time Turkish champions, think Balotelli remains a big enough draw with the fans to warrant a guaranteed annual salary of 1.5 million euros ($1.8 million).

Balotelli’s head has been turned by the move as Besiktas are in the second qualifying round of the Champions League after finishing third in the table last season.

The Milliyet newspaper said club bosses were telling coach Sergen Yalcin Balotelli could turn Besiktas a handsome profit if he finds his scoring touch in Turkey and is then resold.

The Fotomac newspaper reported that Balotelli had consulted Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma and Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o about their experiences with racism while playing in Turkey.

“Both gave the same answer,” said the paper. “Besiktas is the best place.”

But president Ahmet Nur Cebi played his cards close to his chest when pressed about the Balotelli rumours.

“I don’t know,” he said flatly. “Our door is open to the best player who can fit in that budget.”


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